Daily Higher Education News: 7 February 2013

Daily Higher Education News: 7 February 2013

The TopUniversities.com guide to the latest higher education news from around the world, on 7 February 2013.

More than 10,000 students apply to social start-up contest

Hult International Business School says it’s received more than 10,000 applications for its annual social start-up competition – which has fast become the world’s largest student contest, The Sacramento Bee reports. The Hult Prize awards US$1 million to fund a winning social venture, and this year’s theme, the global food crisis, has attracted proposals from students in more than 150 countries. Regional finals will be held in March, and those selected will participate in a two-month innovation ‘boot camp’.

China to scrap free postgraduate courses

As of fall 2014, China will no longer offer any entirely state-funded postgraduate courses, reports China.org.cn. The country began phasing out free postgraduate degrees in 2006, and will now extend this policy to all state-supported institutions. Annual fees will be capped at 8,000 yuan (US$1,280) for master’s programs and 10,000 yuan (US$1,600) for doctorates. Not all bad news though! The government has also pledged to introduce more scholarships, improve student loans and increase subsidies for research assistants and student teachers.

First undergraduate course in Canadian Irish studies

Concordia University has announced a new major in Canadian Irish studies, making it the first North American institution to offer a course exploring the connections between Irish and Canadian culture. The bachelor of arts will allow students to explore historic and contemporary ties between the two countries, through a broad range of subjects including history, literature, drama, film, economics and politics. Applications for 2013/14 are now open.

(Some) Swiss universities joining the MOOC craze

Several Swiss universities have plans to launch Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), though not all are convinced by the hype, reports SwissInfo. The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) already offers a popular computer programming MOOC, and is preparing to launch many more. ETH Zurich, Geneva University and Bern University are also planning or considering MOOCs – but with varying degrees of enthusiasm. “With much of what I’ve seen it’s easier to be critical than find pearls,” said ETH Zurich’s Konrad Osterwalder.  

Spanish students protest over education cuts

Tens of thousands of students across Spain have been participating in demonstrations against the government’s plans for further cuts to the education budget, reports Press TV. According to the national Students’ Union, almost 1.6 million students have taken part in rallies held all around the country. Since 2010, the education budget has been cut by €6.5 billion, meaning increases to tuition fees, fewer scholarships, and larger classes sizes.